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Craig's Book Club
Book Reviews

Spotlight on: The Confession by Domenic Stansberry


To arrange to have products considered for review, send an email to craigsbookclub@yahoo.com.


The Confession by Domenic Stansberry Domenic Stansberry, The Confession

(Hard Case Crime is a new imprint from Dorchester Publications and Winterfall LLC that focuses on books written in the style of the old pulp crime novels. They will be publishing new works in the old style, like Domenic Stansberry's The Confession, as well as reprinting classics from the masters.)

Jake Danser is in a hell of a fix. His wife Elizabeth has found out about his mistress Sara and wants a divorce. Sara wants a commitment but Jake want to save his marriage. In the meantime, Elizabeth has taken up with local prosecutor Minor Robinson during the separation. When Sara is found strangled with a tie very similar to Jake's own, he becomes the prime suspect and Robinson is determined to prove him guilty. Could he be guilty? Well, he does have this disorder where he blacks out for periods of time...

Author Domenic Stansberry successfully utilizes the "confessional" style made most famous by Edgar Allan Poe in such tales as "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart." (No wonder it won the Edgar Allan Poe award for Best Paperback Original.) Luckily, Danser does not deluge us with the same multiple protestations regarding his samity as Poe's protagonists did. Stansberry's skillful prose style also lends a level of credence to The Confession, which is essentially a "didhedoit" where the lead character seems often as clueless as the readers.

Danser tells his own story, ten years after, so at the very least, we know he's not dead, but we don't know where he's telling it from (I had assumed it was prison). The confessional style works well for this tale of a man who doesn't seem entirely sure of his own innocence, keeping the all-important doubt in the reader's mind all the way through this highly suspenseful novel. It's easy to see how Stansberry was nominated for two previous Edgar Allan Poe awards: he really knows his way around the psychological crime genre.

The cover, by artist Richard B. Farrell (using his own hands and his wife as models), again represents the inside contents well. The title of the book would seem to give away the ending, but any mention of the ending at all is bound to be a giveaway of some sort. I'll just say, in the sensationalistic style of publishing blurbs everywhere (it doesn't seem entirely inappropriate for this line): "I confess! I was astounded by The Confession."


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